On-stage with The CHIC Organization at Avo Sessions Basel – Photo Credit: Dominik Plüss avo.ch/de/photos
I started this blog after cancer attacked me about a year ago. Since then, I've had severe ups and downs. But no matter how bad things may get, when I'm on stage Those Are Really Good Times.
View of a narrow swath of clouds between the mountains in Basel, Switzerland from my airplane window
I was really nervous during today's landing in Basel, Switzerland. The mountains outside the window were higher than the plane's altitude and we'd been descending for quite a few minutes. The only thing visible below were clouds. As soon as we cleared the clouds, the runway was right there. For me, it was A Close Call.
I'm on the road doing live shows with The CHIC Organization and a book signing tour for my memoir "Le Freak."
In it, I talk about many members of CHIC who've been taken by the grim reaper, including myself. Fortunately when I died in the late 80's, the doctors brought me back. But it was A Close Call.
St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital - where they brought me back after I was clinically dead in the 80's
Rick James & me - I had many close calls with him
Bernard Edwards - R.I.P.
Tony Thompson - R.I.P.
Luther Vandross - R.I.P.
Raymond Jones - R.I.P.
I had a full day at the BBC promoting my book, "Le Freak." Now I'm on off to Switzerland.
I didn't get any sleep last night and won't do much better tonight. The jet lag is catching up with me and I'll have to do a show when I land. But it's wonderful to share The Story of Le Freak.
This is the last of the pre-CHIC Big Apple Band videos. I am really happy that Kenny Lehman recorded this short set. The four songs were all one-take performances because studio time was very expensive.
I've watched this over and over since first seeing it a couple days ago. I miss Bernard and Tony. It's wonderful to see them looking healthy and having fun.
I love music. I love life - and I love all of you who follow my daily cancer journey and share your feelings with me. That's the Lowdown.
Here's another cover song by my pre-CHIC Big Apple Band.
When working with David Bowie on "China Girl," I played a modified version of the guitar riff from "Sweet Thing" on it. Typically, when I write singles I put a hook at the start of the song.
I was inspired by this Rufus guitar riff because I thought it had an Asian sound. I played the riff right at the start of "China Girl" before the band comes in. To my surprise David loved it, and that was indeed a Sweet Thing.
Before we became CHIC we had tried many different formulas. We were a rock-fusion band called The Boiz and we were also The Big Apple Band.
The labels all loved our rock demos but turned us down after they saw we were black. We couldn't get signed anywhere. It soon became apparent that the openess of the disco movement would let us in.
A few months after we did this demo, a Bee-Gees cover to try and get high school prom gigs, we recorded our first CHIC song. That song was called "Everybody Dance." The industry was telling us, "You shouldn't be rocking - You Should Be Dancing, Yeah!"
I just saw this video for the first time in my life today. It's The Big Apple Band, which is us pre-CHIC playing live in a video recording studio. It was made by Kenny Lehman, the co-writer of CHIC's debut single "Dance, Dance, Dance." Kenny was also a booking agent who was trying to get us gigs doing high-school proms. We never got one prom gig but did lots of gigs on the chittlin' circuit, and the seeds of CHIC were being planted.
In my memoir "Le Freak," I tell how Bernard and I were developing into sophisto-funkers while others around us weren't quite convinced. Notice that only he and I are wearing suits while our band mates are more Rock & Roll casual. The band was forced to change its name after composer/arranger/producer extraordinaire Walter Murphy, had major success with a great disco reworking of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. He called it "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band.
Here, our Big Apple Band covers Earth, Wind and Fire's "Getaway." I believe the song's DHM is totally captured though we have no keyboards or horns. I tip my hat to both versions of The Big Apple Band.
Two days ago the WOWOW TV documentary arrived. Many of you may have seen it already, but many haven't. The production company Br@in did such a great job, I believe it warrant's a second day.
It's a full length TV special that was just broadcast in Japan. I decided it was better to post it in this format so you can scroll to any point along the timeline.
Though the narration is in Japanese, everything else is in English. It's done in such a way that you can follow it perfectly. It reveals almost everything in my professional life; video game soundtracks, Double Time: The Musical, Bernard Edward's death, the agressive prostate cancer attack, Japan's tsunami, The CHIC Organization, my daily blog - Walking on Planet C, and much, much more is covered in the WOWOW TV Doc, "Start Again," Again.
Yesterday the WOWOW TV documentary arrived. It's a full length TV special that was just broadcast in Japan. I decided it was better to post it in this format so you can scroll to any point along the timeline.
Though the narration is in Japanese, everything else is in English. It's done in such a way that you can follow it perfectly. It reveals almost everything in my professional life; video game soundtracks, Double Time: The Musical, Bernard Edward's death, the agressive prostate cancer attack, Japan's tsunami, The CHIC Organization, my daily blog - Walking on Planet C, and much, much more is covered in "Start Again," The WOWOW TV Doc.
Co-writer and producer of CHIC's first single, "Dance, Dance, Dance," Kenny Lehman came to Le Crib today
Kenny Lehman, co-writer and producer of CHIC's first single "Dance, Dance, Dance," came to Le Crib today. He brought over a VHS copy of my band before we became CHIC.
It's amazing that he actually had a video tape recording from 1975. Unfortunately, I can't have it in today's blog because I'm having it digitized. I promise to bring it to you within the next few days.
Today I'll play "Dance, Dance, Dance" by The Original CHIC Organization.
The Full Early CHIC Organization - R.I.P. Luther Vandross, Raymond Jones, Bernard Edwards & Tony Thompson
Ooh! Look! An old VHS tape